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Project Manager: 3 Ways Cloud Technology Improves Project Management

This brief examines how cloud technology can help manage projects more effectively by setting goals, defining roles, automating notifications, and tracking risks / issues with a centralized portal.
Michael Guido
 

Every project manager has experienced a project that is at risk of missing it’s Time, Budget, and scope requirements. These constraints limit every project, and a change in one of the three requires adjustments in the other two. This brief examines how cloud technology can help manage projects more effectively by setting goals, defining roles, automating notifications, and tracking risks / issues with a centralized portal.

Project-Management-Triangle-1.png

Project Management Triangle illustrating tradeoffs between Time (Done Quickly), Budget (Low Cost), & Scope (High Quality).

Set your Goals & Objectives:

Before a project is started, a clear set of goals and objectives should be documented to memorialize the agreed benefits of a  successful completion of the project.  Ideally this aligns with an overall mission or strategy for the organization. As new requirements / changes arise, they should be tested against the stated goals & objectives of the project, and consideration should be given to the time, budget, and scope constraints of the requirement.

New functionality may mean the budget needs to be increased, the time extended, or a less important piece of functionality is pulled from the scope.

Cloud Benefit 1:

A centralized portal (single point of record) that securely documents this information and prohibits restricted users from modifying the goals and objectives ensures their is no confusion about what the team is trying to accomplish. An audit trail can easily be implemented that documents how (allowed) stakeholders modify these objectives over time.

Identify your RACI:

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.  Clearly defining the personnel within the organization who will handle these roles eliminates ambiguity and empowers the team to escalate impediments to the correct personnel.

Team.png

Agile Project Team for project delivery in the Mendix Platform

Cloud Benefit 2:

If your organizations manages multiple projects, it is critical to filter your data into digestible bites. By storing key information such as Name, Email, Title, and Phone #, personnel can quickly identify the correct person to contact once an impediment becomes obvious. This seems intuitive, but many times the folks who identify impediments will be several layers away from the RACI members of the team.

Bonus Benefit:

Robust cloud solutions can be configured to automatically send push notifications, text messages, or emails to the appropriate members of the team.

Track your Risks & Issues - Assign an Owner:

Issues will arise on a project. It is critical to tack them in a centralized place so they are visible to key stakeholders.  When an issue is identified, the potential impact to the project success should be weighed. There are numerous ways to do this, but the simplest is to consider how they will impact the three key constraints, time, budget, and scope.

Cloud Benefit 3:

A centralized portal can easily track this data, and allow users to assign an owner (ideally from the project team).  A simple “stoplight - green, yellow, red” can give visual cues to the RACI as to the criticality / impact the risk or issues poses to the project’s time, budget, and scope.

In Practice:

The basics of good project management have not changed. All projects are constrained by time, budget, and scope. Cloud technology can support and enforce best-in-class project management by tracking the goals and objectives of a project, and how they evolve over time. By keeping this information stored in the cloud as a single point of record (vs. numerous excel sheets) key personnel can stay on the same page. For more information read When Excel Fails your Business 

As the project team is identified, cloud software can help clearly document the RACI members and provide easy communication outlets (email, push notification, SMS, etc) from the executors of the project to the sponsors.  As issues and risks arise, a centralized project management tool can provide visual cues via a “stoplight” approach to quickly allow the team to quickly diagnose the likelihood of success versus the time, budget, and scope constraints of the project.

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